You got your drafted armies, you got your volunteer armies, then you got both at the same time. Or at least that’s what the SPD seems to be proposing for Germany at the moment. In a classic and somehow touching move made by the fairest of the land when it comes to fairness, and of course meant to please everybody (a little bit) all of the time (more or less) as usual, the SPD has suggested keeping the draft, but only drafting those who volunteer to be considered for draft first.

Yeah, I know. That’s what I thought, too. Even the Green boss-of-the-week Claudia Roth woke up upon hearing this and accidentally said something that made sense for once: “Inner-party Burgfrieden (truce in the castle) is more important than programmatic clarity” for the SPD. And the FDP criticizes the SPD’s suggestion on the grounds that today’s drafting system has always been unfair to begin with. According to them, only 17 percent of the men eligible for draft serve at the moment, about 60 percent of all young men who could serve in either the Bundeswehr or Zivildienst (alternative civilian service) don’t.

The CDU and CSU are still for the draft however, for some mysterious reason I have yet to understand. Never touch a non-running system, they must be thinking. Or maybe they are a little on the sentimental side. After all, the draft was introduced 50 years ago this past April and over 8 million men have served in the Bundeswehr since then (woman have been allowed to volunteer since 2001). Of course maybe they are also afraid that if they ever did introduce a real volunteer army in Germany practically nobody would volunteer at all. Hard to say, but fair.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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